For the past few weeks, I spent many evenings typing up a reading list for this website. It was a lot of data entry and linking. I started tracking what I read back in the summer of 2003. I don’t know why I started tracking but I’m glad I did. Going through this list has been a joyful version of “this is your life” - in books!
Every title was a glimpse back at a specific point in my life. For some titles, I not only remembered the book but I could recall where I read it and how I felt. Over 15 years of tracking is a lot of memories to fall into.
Doing this project showed me how reading changes with our stages of life. In college, my books were heavy on assigned texts and romance novels - you know, to lighten things up. Post college, I expanded my non-fiction reading since I no longer had to read books for class. Then there were the book club reads, hobby binge sprees, and the “hey, this must be popular for a reason” picks. Then there was the move to pregnancy and parenting books - with a lot of YA to take a break from all the adulting.
I am always curious about what books other people are reading. If you're the same, head on over to my reading list page. Books are listed in reverse chronological order.
Since I began tracking, I've read 961 books totaling 300,419 pages. I might need to get myself a cupcake when I hit 1,000.
On Friday, we ate lunch inside a restaurant for this first time in months. We thought the risk of eating inside was low because the restaurant had ceiling fans going, the doors open, very few people, and the tables were over 10 feet apart. It was both a scary and enjoyable experience. I miss restaurants. I miss going out. I miss seeing people. At the same time, I also do relish being near other people right now.
We had the kiddo with us and she surprised us by acting like a dream. She didn't make a mess, fuss, or try to run away. Then, we realized that this was all new to her. The last time we were able to eat inside is probably before her memory kicks in. She was looking around taking everything in. She loved waving at the restaurant staff and announcing "Bus!" each time one drove by. She even ate her first french fry.
I can't wait until we can start letting her explore the world again. At her age, she knows no different, but I want her to realize that there is so much more to see and do. Fingers crossed we are nearing the light at the end of the tunnel.
On Friday, I was lucky enough to receive my first COVID vaccine shot. My dose was given at a FEMA mass vaccination site in Maryland. It was a highly efficient operation. Only 20 minutes elapsed from the moment I arrived until the moment I left - that included the 15-minutes "let's make sure you don't have an awful allergic reaction" timeout. The entire tent complex was abuzz with organized activity and you could just sense the joy under people's masks.
What has stuck with my most about the whole systematic operation is the people. During my visit, I interacted with 10 individuals - some for only a few seconds. All of them are strangers to me and all of them will remain strangers to me. But each of these people has had a profound impact on my life. They made it possible for me to receive this vaccine. Without their hard work, I would not be rubbing this sore spot on my arm.
This vaccination site is a living reminder of the amount of unnamed individuals throughout the world who have gotten us to this point. All the scientists. All the nurses, doctors, caregivers, and healthcare professionals. All the contact tracers. All the people actually putting shots in other people's arms. All the people doing what I can only imagine is a mountain of paperwork and administrative activity (someone has to design, print, and distribute all those COVID vaccination cards).
So... many... people.
Thank you. Thank you each and every one of you.
The pandemic has caused the oddest things to bring me joy. Right now, it’s the deck construction happening out my kitchen window. The Husband and I (luckily) purchased a new condo in December - right before all of this *gesticulates wildly* popped off. After we moved in, we noticed the house across the alley behind us had a lot going on. Since February 2020 we’ve seen:
Right now, they are in the process of replacing said porch and staircase. They even moved where the staircase is located which completely changed the look of everything.
I am highly invested in this house now. It’s my own HGTV show.
First, I have some (possibly exciting) information. I've decided to turn this weekly post into a newsletter over on Substack. I greatly enjoy putting it together each week and I want to share it more broadly. While the links and all that will be the same, I do plan to add some new content to the newsletter in case you want to subscribe. If you're interested, head on over to my substack page and click subscribe. Like this blog, the newsletter is totally free.
Second, the local Capital Weather Gang declared winter officially over in the DC area. Good. I am done with the cold and am very excited to talk lunchtime walks in the sunshine.
Just this comic in my head every day.
There is snow in the forecast for tomorrow which is just rude after the beautiful week of weather we had. I guess that's why this comic about the DC area's 12 seasons feels so funny and true.
I've been in this area for almost two decades and those first hints of spring when the crocuses pop up always make me so happy. They're little flowers but they're just so cheerful and hopeful. Flowers are one of life's simple pleasures that I relish. I love spotting flowers in our neighborhood and getting bouquets for our home. Once this cold snap passes, I will be walking the streets of our neighborhood and snapping pictures of everything that blooms.
This was one of those weeks were I was like, "Awesome! I don't have that many meetings! I can work on so many things."
And then, the things, they somehow did not get as far along as I wanted. I swear lighter weeks end up being black holes of intentional productivity. I got stuff done but not what I intended to get done.
I was scared of jinxing it but, this past week, we had a complete five days of daycare. The peasants rejoice! I can't begin to tell you how happy (and productive) that made me. Fingers crossed this trend continues.
This week, we also so glimmers of spring. The DC area hit temperatures in the high 50s this week and it was delightful. As pretty as snow is, I am not fan of the cold. Bring on sunny skies, warm breezes, and bird song!
When I was a kid, I loved snow days. Since I spent most of my school years in upstate New York, they were a rare treat. Yes, we had to shovel our massive driveway and sidewalk, but we got to sleep in, there was almost always hot cocoa, and I got to spend time reading. Heaven.
As a parent, I now get what a treat it was to have a mom who also worked at the school (until my brother and I were old enough to stay home alone). Every winter weather prediction leaves The Husband and I filtering through our schedules to balance childcare and work.
I did get to preserve one aspect of a snow day for our kiddo this week - sleeping in. She's a good sleeper already but, on our snow day, she gave me an extra 45 minutes. 45 minutes to triage my work email and enjoy a cup of coffee before I became the human play ground.